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Why do I need to wear a retainer, and how long do I need to wear it?

teet wearing retainerYou might wonder why you need to wear a retainer after having braces.

Retainers are an essential part of the treatment to straighten teeth and fix jaw alignment issues. They are equally as important as the orthodontic treatment that precedes them.

What is a retainer?

There are two types of retainers orthodontists typically use:

1. Fixed retainers

These are thin braided wires that are glued to the inside of the front teeth to hold them straight. Fixed retainers are worn permanently by the patient.

2. Removable retainers

These retainers hold the front and back teeth in position. They are custom-made from either a thin bit of plastic or a combination of hard plastic and metal wire. Removable retainers are generally worn full time for the first few months after treatment finishes and then at night time for 2 years.

Why is a retainer necessary?

All patients need retainers after the removal of braces.

Once braces have moved the teeth into the correct position, the new bone surrounding them is very soft and immature (just like that of a broken arm). It is essential to maintain the teeth in the correct position until the bone can harden and mature.

Retainers keep the teeth in position while the bone and ligaments around them heal and reorganise.

The position of our teeth naturally moves with age. Retainers also have an important role in preventing these age-related changes to the teeth.

How long do I need to wear a retainer?

Retainers may have to be worn for up to two years while the bone hardens after the removal of braces. After that it is advisable to wear the retainer once or twice a week to ensure teeth stay in their new position.


For more advice on orthodontic treatment, including the use of retainers, please book an assessment at Wavescape Orthodontics today. Wavescape is a specialist orthodontics practice in Dee Why on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. We offer a comprehensive range of orthodontic services to children, teenagers, and adults.



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